Overall physician well-being seems to be improving, but the risk of burnouts still remains, finds a new study. The results of this study are published in the journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The good news is that physician burnout appears to be improving, along with indicators for physician well-being. However, physicians remain at high risk for burnout, depression, and depersonalization, compared to other professionals.
"This is good news. It shows that burnout is being addressed nationally and programs are having some impact," says Lotte Dyrbye, M.D., Mayo Clinic researcher and senior author of the paper. "Clearly more organizational change and more research is needed to sustain this trajectory."
Burnout encompasses many aspects but includes the areas of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, distress, and depression. Extreme cases of burnout can lead to medical errors affecting patients, job loss and suicide. Survey responders say the demands of updating electronic health records are a major factor in burnout. These demands limit the time physicians can spend with patients, and that affects career satisfaction.
More than 30,000 physicians were invited to participate in the electronic survey. Roughly 17 percent (5,197) responded, and a second attempt to reach nonrespondents gained 248 more participants. Questions mirrored those on the previous surveys.
Researchers say the reason for the change may be due to physicians adapting to the new work environments over the three years. Also, much progress may be attributed to interventional programs to stem burnout in hospitals and other facilities. Conversely, they say the indicators may have improved because many distressed physicians have left the profession.